Hazing is when a group — like a club or a sorority — requires that others who want to join do certain things. Sometimes these things are silly and are not harmful, such as wearing crazy clothes or a lot of makeup. Other times, the people in charge of the group make the newcomers do dangerous and even life-threatening things, such as drinking too much alcohol.
Bullying and hazing are similar to each other in some ways, but are different in others.
At the middle and high school levels, hazing often occurs in sports teams, with current team members “initiating” new members. Many people think of hazing as a harmless part of growing up, as something that everyone goes through at some point, but hazing is harmful, both physically and emotionally. Physical wounds heal, but a victim of hazing can carry the emotional scars with them for life.
Common types of hazing include:
- Sleep deprivation and restrictions on personal hygiene
- Yelling, swearing, and insulting new members/rookies
- Being forced to wear embarrassing or humiliating clothing in public
- Being forced to eat vile substances or smearing of such on one’s skin
- Physical beatings
- Binge drinking and drinking games
- Sexual simulation and sexual assault
What are the warning signs of hazing?
How can you know when hazing will get out of control? Here are some warning signs:
- The group leaders are very mean
- You have heard about dangerous hazing activities from others who have been through it before
- You feel a knot in your stomach – trust your instincts!
- You have been warned by teachers or other adults that the group is dangerous
- You have seen the group make others do things that are against your morals or values
- You feel afraid to break away from the group
What can you do if you are being hazed and feel you are in danger?
- Create a connection with your friends, and have a plan in case a dangerous situation comes up
- Pick a trusted adult, and tell him or her what is happening
Remember – no one has a right to hurt you!
In a Chicago suburb, a powder puff football game between junior and senior girls turned ugly. Seniors kicked and punched the juniors and smeared them with a mixture of house paint, fish guts, pig intestines, blood, and human feces and urine. A number of the juniors were injured and had to be taken to the local hospital. One had a broken foot and another girl needed 16 stitches in her head. And those are just the physical injuries they suffered.
Content last reviewed September 22, 2009
Page last updated October 31, 2013